Had they not agreed, Hamlin and Busch would have been in a drag race, with some combination of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell behind them. Gibbs, Joe Gibbs' eldest son who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease.
It was one of five crashes and two red flags over the final 20 laps of regulation as the Daytona 500 turned into a wreck-fest.
"Still, we're in the motorhome last night after we come back and I just don't believe it, the trophy is sitting right there on the counter", Hamlin said.
"I thought that was encouraging to see you're not having to rely necessarily on a whole pack of cars to help you move through the field".
"The worst thing you want to do is put yourself in a bad position to have to bring a backup auto", Stewart, owner of Stewart-Hass Racing said. "I said this morning, we're going to use all our luck up this weekend".
Almirola should be using a similar auto setup at this year's Daytona 500 and he also has had some success at Daytona International Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the 2014 Coke Zero 400 for his first career victory.
People who attend NASCAR events eagerly await a crash because why else would you sit and watch a car-racing event where the vehicles go around a loop at virtually the same pace over and over.
"It is the most emotional and biggest win I've ever had in my life, in anything", Gibbs said.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Fox Sports paid tribute to Gibbs early in the race.
Busch won the 60-lap first stage of the race while Ryan Blaney, as he did a year ago, captured the second stage. He also had three Top 5's, including winning the 2010 Daytona 500.
Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet. He won the second race of the season at Talladega, NASCAR's other 2.5-mile superspeedway, and finished with 17 top-10 finishes for a 10th-place finish in the NASCAR standings.
"You know, it is what it is". He lost his ride for Chip Ganassi Racing's Xfinity team following an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the program's primary sponsor, DC Solar. Six of the drivers involved had led laps Sunday.
Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row of Sunday's starting grid, with Byron on the pole and Alex Bowman on the outside of Row 1.
Hamlin previous year suffered through his first winless season in the Cup Series and made a crew chief change during the offseason.